Breaking the Molds for Men and Women in Literature
By Eric Trant
We all have our molds to break, and I will not insist that you follow a particular mold, and I will not give you rules or even guidelines. Instead, I will challenge you to discover your mold, and then break it.
As for me, I am a southern white American male protestant, straight and professional with a pregnant wife and two children and a house and three dogs. I am a college educated chemical engineer and I think math is fun. Sometimes I drink too much dark beer, and sometimes I say things that sounded funnier in my head. I could go on, but that is my mold, and here is how I break it.
I do not do drugs. My parents did not abuse me. Both my legs and eyes work, and until last year I had never lost a child. (My wife and I lost our 18mo son in May 2012, as I was writing Wink.) With all that said, I chose to write a story about an abused boy, the son of drug-addicts, and I placed a paralyzed girl next to him as a neighbor. I dealt with the loss of a child in fiction at the same time I lost my own, which is an irony not lost on me, and on this point I will pause. See, I nailed that part. I had never experienced the loss when I wrote it, but after it happened, I realized my literary voice captured and depicted that event with a degree of accuracy that would have terrified a man of lesser faith.
In any case, I broke quite a few of my personal molds with Wink. While I set predominantly white southern characters in a familiar location, I investigated a lifestyle I do not know. I created a weak and abusive woman, and then balanced her with a strong and healthy neighbor. I created a cruel and almost inhuman man, and then balanced him with responsible men throughout. The main characters were two women, one man living and one man deceased, a boy and a girl, with a balance of both gender and character between them.
All of this was a conscious act of breaking my mold, in this case my mold of a professional family man who has never used drugs. I look forward in other pieces to breaking racial and sexual and geographical barriers, delving into characters with different religious beliefs (or none at all), and touching on topics that make me personally uncomfortable because discomfort is the sign of misunderstanding. I want to talk to these people and see what the really, truly have to say to me. I want to understand them.
It is important as a writer to recognize your own beliefs and actively avoid showing subconscious bias in your writings. Beware of the stereotypes for southerners and west-coasters and New Yorkers and Canadians. Beware of the cliché black or Hispanic or southern white American male protestant. If you are straight or gay or short or tall or thin or fat or muscular or weak, do not pick on the counterpart to your mold, and do not make trite assumptions about them.
It is your job as a writer to see beyond what others see, and to understand and explain that which makes us uncomfortable. It is your job to discover these molds, and then break them in a responsible and self-aware manner.
What is your mold, and how do you break it? ' About Wink
A moving, fast-paced and incredibly emotional story about love, friendship and transformation.
In this thriller set in a rural Gulf Coast town, Marty Jameson finds refuge in the attic from his mother's abusive rages. But only during the day. At night the attic holds terrors even beyond what he witnesses in his home. With a family made up of a psychotic mother, a drug-dealing father and a comatose older brother withering away in the spare bedroom, Marty feels trapped.
Next door, wheel-chair bound Sadie Marsh obsessively watches Marty's comings and goings from her bedroom window, despite her mother's warning about the evil in that house. Evil which appears to Sadie as huge black-winged creatures.
Marty, emotionally torn by the violence and dysfunction in his family, is drawn to Sadie and her kindly mother. But if he is to save his new friend from the supernatural horror threatening them all, Marty must transform himself from victim to hero. And to do so, he must first confront what lurks hidden in the shadows of his attic.
Wink is a thriller that captivates readers and leaves them longing for more. Trant is a talented author whose character descriptions go far beyond the physical.
Paperback: 275 pages
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (April 16, 2013)
Twitter hashtag: #WINK
Wink is available as a print and e- book at Amazon andBarnes & Noble.
Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Out of the Great Black Nothing and Wink from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work on his blog: http://diggingwiththeworms.blogspot.com/, order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.
Eric is an advocate for organ donation and lost his 18mo son in May of 2012. Eric and his wife courageously donated their son’s heart, kidneys, and liver. The couple went on to begin a foundation to support organ donor families. Eric speaks openly about this emotional journey on his blog and the topic of organ donation is very close to his heart.
Find out more about the author by visiting him online:
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